In the last three years I’ve explored deeply the many names of Jesus, over 300 according to some Bible scholars. It has been a wonderful discovery to see in each facet of His character, reflected in each name, a hint of deep mystery or a plain description of this One who gave His life for us. Right now, as I’m studying Zechariah in my weekly Bible study class, I found another name belonging to Jesus: the Branch.
Branch is a name repeated several times in the Old Testament. Isaiah teaches, “A shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him” (11:1-2), telling that Jesus, the Branch, comes from the stem or lineage of Jesse, David’s father. Again, God announces, “The days are coming, when I shall raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely” (Jeremiah 23:5). In these verses more of what Jesus will do when He comes to us is revealed. We see pieces of an intricate puzzle that God loves for us to find and set in place so that the picture of who He is becomes clearer and fuller.
God loves redeeming the impossible, and in this name of Jesus is the promise, the seed, the encouragement, to hope again. Anyone who paid attention in history knew that Israel and the Jewish people’s days of nationhood, influence, and prominence were over. Those watching, and the remnant of Jewish people who returned to the rubble that was once a strong kingdom, knew the dreams had died.
But God says He will return, restore, and make all things right. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8), and, “Behold I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:5). So there is hope for their nation and hope for us, too.
The Branch offers the promise that our own failures, losses, and sorrows can be redeemed as we give everything to Him and wait patiently for His miraculous work to be revealed in our lives. What great wonder there is in the promise of Jesus as the Branch!